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06th Apr 2017

Here are the very best documentaries from 2016 that you might have missed

Paul Moore

If you’re looking for a new documentary, these should all be on your list. Four of them are on Netflix.

The documentary format has always been incredibly popular with filmmakers, but it’s clear that the advent of Netflix and faster Internet connectivity has seen the public’s demand for factual entertainment absolutely skyrocket.

Binge watching a documentary series is now an essential part of people’s TV routine and if you’re looking for something new, we might have just the thing for you.

Every year, the Peabody Awards honour the most powerful, enlightening and invigorating stories in television, radio and digital media.

What’s unique about the Peabody Awards though is that they aim to promote films that capture society’s most important issues—known as the Peabody 30.

Here’s their shortlist of the best documentaries from 2016. How many have you seen?

Marathon: The Patriots Day Bombing (HBO)
Plot: A recounting of the Boston Marathon terrorist attacks through the experiences of individuals whose lives were forever changed on April 15, 2013.

13th (Netflix)
Plot: An exploration of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution and its relation to the criminalization and imprisonment of African-Americans.

Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four (Investigation Discovery)
Plot: An excavation of the persecution of four Latina lesbians wrongfully convicted of gang-rape.

A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness – (HBO)
Plot: The chronicle of one young Pakistani woman who lives to tell of her attempted honor killing by her own family.

The Secret Life of Muslims (Vox, The USA Today Network, PRI’s The World, CBS Sunday Morning)
Plot: A series of short films featuring a diverse set of American Muslims speaking from their own respective experiences.

Audrie & Daisy (Netflix)
Plot: Real-life stories examining the ripple effect of sexual crimes against two teen girls within the new world of social media bullying.

Zero Days  (Showtime)
Plot: An exploration of cyber warfare and its potential impact on global peace.

Last Chance U (Netflix)
Plot: Character-driven, behind-the-scenes look at the world of college football.

Plot: A celebration of the gospel and soul music legend and civil rights icon Mavis Staples.

Chasing Heroin (PBS/WGBH)
Plot: A look at America’s opioid crisis, how the epidemic came to be, and why the public health system has failed to turn things around.

Independent Lens: Trapped  (PBS)
Plot: A look at the motivation and politics surrounding “TRAP” laws, specifically designed to restrict access to abortion providers.

Confronting ISIS (PBS/WGBH)
Plot: An examination of the successes, failures and challenges in America’s ongoing war against Islamist extremists.

Exodus (PBS/WGBH)
Plot: An intimate take on the refugee and migrant crisis.

4.1 Miles  (
Plot: A coast guard captain on a small Greek island is suddenly charged with saving thousands of refugees from drowning at sea.

Clip via – Cincinnati World Cinema

Great Performances: Hamilton’s America (PBS)
Plot: History and the creative process behind Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway phenomenon, “Hamilton.”

Hip-Hop Evolution (Netflix, HBO Canada)
Plot: Series tracing hip hop’s evolution from the 1970s through the 1990s.

Independent Lens: The Armor of Light  (PBS)
Plot: A conservative, Evangelical minister questions his long-held assumptions about guns and gun ownership.

Independent Lens: The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution (PBS)
Plot: A history of The Black Panthers and the socioeconomic and racial justice issues the group tackled.

Islamic State’s Most Wanted” BBC World Service (BBC News Online)
Plot: Four young men take on the Islamic State with risky undercover reporting.

O.J.: Made in America (ESPN)
Plot: A biography of O.J. Simpson and a definitive story of 20th century America.

Clip via – John Marcus

POV: Hooligan Sparrow (PBS)
Plot: A small group of women’s rights activists stand together to protest sexual assault in schools in Hainan, China.

POV: The Look of Silence (PBS)
Plot: The story of an Indonesian man confronting his brother’s killers and demanding they accept responsibility for their crimes.

POV: The Return (PBS)
Plot: An examination of California prisoners suddenly freed and their adjustment to life on the outside.

POV: What Tomorrow Brings (PBS)
Plot: A film about girls coming of age and struggling to find their way in a violent, uncertain Afghanistan.

The Forger (Video)
Plot: The story of Adolfo Kaminsky, who helped save thousands of lives by making false passports and other documents for children to flee the Nazis.

Clip via – The New York Times